The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.
Monster movies seem to have a pattern. There is always a family, some military involvement and the works. "Godzilla" is not an exception. What is exceptional though, is the way these things were handled. Yes, sometimes I cringed at some family matters, but other times (especially when Cranston was on screen) I was almost moved.
Bryan Cranston naturally does fine, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the lead. He is the character that is everywhere at almost all times. He's sometimes more of a plot vehicle than a character, and this movie isn't surely worth watching because of him, but at least he didn't annoy me as much as I feared and the movie managed to get to the point I was waiting for without making me hate the wait. Ken Watanabe, too, is handled mainly as an exposition machine or is tasked with setting up the mood, but he's always enjoyable to watch and when he's on screen everything feels a lot better.
The monsters, what they are and what they do, are set up well enough. We get some impressive visuals and decent build-up even before the first full-on action scene. The creatures are introduced nicely, and when they get to business, it's all nice to watch.
Godzilla is of course the main character, and many people complain that he isn't shown much in this film. That is not a moot criticism, and I understand that. However I enjoyed our hero of a monster more this way. When he WAS on screen, it was more special and worth the wait.
While this is (at least on the human side) a fairly serious movie, I found something uplifting in the monster action itself. Little boy inside this grown man cheered, and even though a lot of buildings and property got smashed, I didn't get tired or annoyed about it like in, say, Man of Steel. There is childish excitement to be found in this movie, even though you'd have to wait for it some time.
My only criticisms are these: the tired family/military-portion of the monster movie formula (while not nearly as bad as I feared), and sometimes the pounding score didn't know when to stop and let our ears take a breather. Because when it did stop in the middle of chaos, the silence was eerily beautiful. I wish we would've had more of that important contrast.
I'd recommend this as a theater experience, not sure if I'll eventually buy the blu-ray because I don't feel like seeing this again. Anyway, some gripes aside, "Godzilla" provides a fun movie experience and washes away some of the bad taste you got in your mouth (brain) from the 1998 version.
- May 19, 2014